Wednesday, August 27, 2014

‘Mandala Sunrise’ Installation Added to UTEP Campus

Public Art Piece Highlights Relationship Between the University and Bhutan

The drive along Sun Bowl Drive on the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus just got a lot more artistic thanks to a new public art installation along the street. “Mandala Sunrise” will greet drivers at the new roundabout at the intersection of Sun Bowl Drive and Glory Road.
The “Mandala Sunrise” public art piece adds color to Sun Bowl Dr. (
The public art piece, designed by Koryn Rolstad of Seattle (, consists of dozens of upright pipes towering over the roundabout decorated with hundreds of colorful resin wings. At night, the piece includes special nighttime lighting.

According to Rolstad’s Facebook page, the piece “celebrates the unique and remarkable blending of cultures embodied by University of Texas at El Paso’s special relationship and partnership with the Kingdom of Bhutan.” She calls the installation “highly engineered, yet lyrical,” taking inspiration from the environment of the Southwest.
The artist's rendering prior to installation shows how closely the finished piece resembles the planned design. (

Mandalas are spiritual and religious symbols often represented in different cultures, including Buddhism. The Kingdom of Bhutan is largely Buddhist, and the sculpture continues the tradition of tying UTEP to the Asian country. The relationship began in the 1910’s when the school’s newest buildings were designed using influences from Bhutanese monasteries.

The roundabout was constructed earlier this year as part of the Sun Bowl Drive widening project. Another roundabout at UTEP, this one at the Schuster Avenue extension, will also get a piece of public art in the future from New York-based Donald Lipski. The Schuster extension project is scheduled for completion in late spring of 2015.